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Sunday, 12 June 2011

The Beast lives!

Prototype pickup RDTD0002 known as 'The Beast' due to being born in a thunderstorm and being over-wound 666 turns was completed today and installed on my own Tele to test. Yes I know I should have installed 0001 onto my own, but the provenance of 0002 and my sense of theatre won out. (links to a demo on utube will follow shortly)

Above 0001 gets potted just before 0002. Twenty minutes of soaking in hot wax before ...

... being blotted on kitchen paper like a couple of big chips, and allowed to cool ... in fact such was my haste to hear 0002 that I installed it still warm from the potting! The Beast can be identified by the purple grounding wire as opposed to the white on 0001

How does it sound ... well it's a hell of a lot hotter than the 6.35k Fender offering that admittedly sounded great in there before. It has more low down grunt ... with stinging highs that are complex not 'ice pick'. Clean it's civilised and tuneful, mixing well with the stock neck pickup. Country riffs and chicken-picking - were I much good at them - seem as they should be. Okay, what about the filth? I hear you ask. Well here the Beast's raw power drives my Laney's preamp a lot harder from the get go. The sound dead flat on the controls is a little more P90 like, but much more aggressive at the treble end. As you gradually wind up, things go through vintage 'Keef' territory to Wilko type stuttering rhythm crunch ... then, well due to neighbours I had to moderate slightly, but it seems that screaming lead tones are there for the taking too.

What conclusions do I draw on 0002? Well firstly my potting seemed to work fine ... no hint of scream, and the pickup is no more microphonic than a stock Fender. Secondly, that I can produce a detailed subtle pickup with plenty of balls to a professional standard. Thirdly I have learned that Allparts baseplates are overpriced and poorly made: the cut-out that gives access to the soldering lugs is miles too narrow and needs dressed open with a file on each unit. Oh and never mind the mounting holes that need tapped before fitting ... okay I can excuse that as, I suppose, you might have American standard or 'imported' thread mounting screws ... but they could tell you before you buy! When I spend a fiver each for a bit of nickel plated, stamped out steel that probably cost pence to make ... I expect it to be as near as dammit perfect!

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